Why am I Getting Bubbles when I Laminate?

Laminating can be a touchy process. Nothing is more frustrating than having bubbles appear in your film. We compiled a list of some of the most common issues in laminating that leads to bubbles and offer solutions to avoid these problems.

Silvering and Lack of Tension

A Common issue in laminating that leads to bubbles may be silvering. Silvering is when bubbles are formed under the laminate because of lack of heat, lack of Tension, or both.

If you don't let your machine warm up to the proper temperature, it might form "cool spots". These spots form air bubbles because the lamination never melts to the adhesive, and therefore never bonds to the image correctly. If you notice there are patterns to where there is silvering, or bands that are non-adhered, this could be a sign one part of your roller was too cool.

Another reason for silvering is lack of tension. If you are applying the laminate loosely, you'll get a sloppy laminate job. When your laminate starts to wrinkle or silver than you need to increase your tension. A rule of thumb when you adjust heat and tension is to do one at a time. If you increase the heat and tension at the same time you might have shrinkage in your image. Adjust one at a time until you find the perfect combination.

Not Using the Force

Your laminate could be forming bubbles because lack of force from the rollers. Insufficient force causes bubbles to get trapped between the film and image. This problem usually arises when you are using an older laminator, or are working with thin films and rough paper. If you don't have enough pressure the laminate won't be able to adhere to all the nooks and crannies of the paper.

So how much force should the rollers apply? Well, it is conditional. If you are feeding material quickly, you will need more force than a slower job.  Lucky for you, this is an easy fix. Simply adjust the tension of the feed spool to the proper specifications for the type of film being used. For instance, thicker film needs more tension.

Too Speedy

Try slowing down the rate your feeding material into the rollers. Bubbles can result if the image is moving faster into the nib than the laminator is working.

Hot Spots

This is the exact opposite of "cool spots". Hot spots occur when an inkjet printed image is rushed to be laminated before the ink is completely dry after printing. When this happens, the ink can boil under the film if the laminator rolls are left idle for a period of time, causing bubbles. To ensure no bubbles, keep the laminator rolls spinning and make sure ink is completely dry before laminating —usually 24 hours after printing.




For more blogs on digital printing, check out 4 Decal Hacks that will Make your Life Easier .